Life: Are you happy in your career?

I originally started this blog post back in December 2019 (I know I take forever to finish blogs – I want to get better about this) and at that time we (the world) was not in a global pandemic as we are today. I figured it was only right to press on and get my thoughts out as this is the reason I have my blog. Maybe I’ll touch on the pandemic at a later time, but there are no shortage of people blogging about it already. I do hope anyone who reads this blog is safe, healthy and in good spirits. And with that said, I am very excited to present the first content from my “Life” section of the blog.

I’m really excited to share this portion of my “All A Dream Travel blog.” I have all these thoughts in my head and I’m sure I’m not the only one. That’s why I think this first topic is so relevant and that many of us will be able to relate to in some way. My site is broken down into Travel, Dreams and Life. In the Life section, I plan to tackle regular, everyday life issues that we all deal with in one way or another. It’s life events, issues, thoughts we experience, but maybe we don’t share with anyone. At least if we do, it’s not in great detail and usually only with one or two trusted people.

I first want to discuss why no one tells you growing up this finding a career you’re passionate about is hard work? I mean how many people do you know truly love what they do for a living? I do know a few people who are lucky this way and I think that’s awesome — but I feel like I know so many more people who have a job/career that helps them pay the bills and it’s not much more attachment to it. I find this mostly very disheartening because think about how much of your life is spent just working. The typical American works about 40 hours a week, 9 hours per day with a 1 hour unpaid lunch — of course many people work more than 40 hours per week. Think about it, if you don’t like your job or find much satisfaction in it, a minimum of 9 hours a day is a lot. If you have a commute to work, it could be anywhere from 10-11 hours (hour commute) of your day, 5 days a week. Almost half your day is spent purely on your job and if you’re one of those people who want to get 8 hours a sleep per night, you’re down to about 5-6 hours for yourself. Which doesn’t seem horrible to all, but factor in you’re tired from a long day at work and then have family obligations (wife, kids, parents). Or you need to spend an hour in the gym, go to the grocery store, etc.

So when do you figure out what you want to do for a career? Thinking back on my life I think I had a couple phases as I grew up. First phase, I wanted to be a professional athlete (NBA player – thanks Michael Jordan). I realized in 9th grade that probably wasn’t going to happen, so I switched my focus to working in basketball operations in the NBA. Only issue was I had no idea how to go about preparing for that type of role and I played basketball in college. This didn’t leave me a lot of time to gain experience doing any particular job function, breaking down game tape or scouting. I managed to keep focused on the goal and I did land a job working in the NBA straight out of college with the Milwaukee Bucks — However, it was on the business side (ticket sales). This role really doesn’t lead to the basketball side of things like scouting, video coordinator, or general manager path. Once the bills kick in and you’re on your own, it becomes difficult to change course. The more you can plan in the beginning stages, the easier it will be to make the necessary sacrifices later.

Looking back on it, I would of been much more diligent about figuring out what I wanted to do (or a few ideas of what interests me) and then learning as much as I could about what it takes to be successful in that role. More importantly, look for people in that field and reach out to them. Ask as many questions as you can —be a sponge. Learn as much as you can to sharpen your skills, but also, to make sure it’s really what you want to do. You will work harder at something you’re invested in outside of just money and I believe this to be true. Additionally, you need some guidance from your parents (more so in teenage years/early adulthood) or a mentor(s) as you’re growing up and learning how to navigate your way. Someone to help you focus on what’s going to be helpful as you enter adulthood and into a career. I was a very focused kid, but in hindsight, I feel like I could of been more focused on the details of what it took to get where I wanted to be. I should of spent more time exploring my interests and passions. But I’m probably being a bit hard on myself, things turned out alright.

There’s so much more to discuss on this topic, but to keep it to a readable blog, I’ll finish with a few thoughts. If you’re in a job/career you don’t love – look at your situation and see if you are able to do something about it. This doesn’t always mean leaving your current job, but maybe finding a different position within your company could do the trick. Try to be as honest as you can with your manager about your desire to do something different and exactly what that looks like for you. Maybe they can help, but this is not always possible. Depending on if you have kids, a spouse or other family responsibilities will probably determine if more drastic actions are feasible. If you feel you’re in the wrong industry altogether, spend time really thinking about what you want to do — and what skills do you have that can translate to this other field. Be thorough in your search, talk with people you trust, and start searching while you are working.

I made a major career change in 2018. It probably seemed odd because I was doing well in the career I was in (finance) and making a good living. I worked with a bunch of extremely talented people and for a company that overall did a pretty good job for it’s employees. However, it just wasn’t what I wanted to be doing – at least not at the time. I think maybe there were other opportunities there that could of worked, but I didn’t see them. Since I’m not responsible for anyone but myself and I’m a pretty financially responsible person, I decided to leave. Before you do something like this, put real thought into what you would like to do. I did think long and hard about my decision beforehand, but could of done a few things differently. Research the field/jobs in your spare time and take steps towards it. Talk to close friends, family and mentors if you have any — good to talk things through and get other perspectives. In the end, the decision comes down to what you feel is best for you & only you truly know that. Life is too short to be afraid to take chances because one day you’ll look back and really be unhappy with yourself (potentially). Personally, based on what I’m extremely passionate about (hence this blog) a job that involved leisure travel with reasonable pay and opportunities would be a dream. Nothing makes me happier than traveling, researching travel and talking about it. I still won’t rule out a career in finance, I love the thought of helping people with such an important area of their life. I think it’s extremely cool helping someone save for retirement and giving them piece of mind one day they can kick back and enjoy life. Sometimes life is hard to predict. I’ll stay focused and keep moving forward.

In the end, I can’t complain. I’ve had some great careers, learned so much valuable knowledge and met some really great people along the way. Plus, right after I left my job, I was able to travel around the world for months (not all at once) and I’ve made friends and memories I’ll never forget. It’s a happy story, but I’m still working on it. Chase your happiness and always remember to travel and see the world!

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